Do I need a company to market online?

8 replies
I formerly worked as a UK contractor with my own limited company, I now work as an employee in Saudi Arabia, as all my online activities are registered to my limited company which is expensive to operate in the UK. I am exploring my options.

Do I actually need a limited company to operate online, can I shift my Paypal agreements and domain ownerships to my personal accounts and simply close my company?

I have been considering opening an offshore company but I am unable to provide proof or residence as I live on a compound in Saudi Arabia, with no utility bills and free accommodation. I do not have any accommodation in the UK and am no longer a UK resident.

I could use my limited company UK virtual office as address proof. However Regus who run my virtual office have managed to lose my authentication paperwork and as I have no proof of UK address to re-authenticate they are now refusing to forward my mail.

Grateful for any advice on this matter as I am stuck in a loop of attempting to move my business out of the UK but cannot as everyone requires proof of address.
#company #company formation #market #marketing online #offshore companies #online
  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan S
    I have several businesses online and I've been paying tax as self-employed (UTR).
    If you're in the UK and operating purely online and you don't have a physical office or depot/warehouse with employees, self-employment is enough. You just have to fill-out self assessment tax returns.
    However, if you're living abroad, you'll be under the business jurisdiction of that country but you still have to pay your NI if you still plan to go back to the UK. Usually, an online business, unless under a registered company, is not registered to any country so the owner has to pay tax as per his self-employment income. If in doubt check the HMRC website.
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  • Profile picture of the author hannahlist
    The whole point of limited companies, LLC, corporations, etc is to protect your PERSONAL ASSETS from getting hit if your online marketing activities lead to a LAWSUIT.

    With that said, your TAX liabilities differ based on your business form.
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    • Profile picture of the author igorGriffiths
      Thanks for the advice and clarification.

      I think for now I will go with the self employed route, my personal UK bank, Santander, seem happy to continue doing business with me living in Saudi Arabia.

      Now to make the required changes.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    No, you do not need a company. You can do business as a sole proprietor.

    And the legal protection offered by corporations in many countries is "not much."

    If you are the owner and main or only employee, a corporation will likely offer you next to no asset protection.

    For proof of address, you can rent virtual addresses many places in the world.

    I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      Seek out professional legal advice. A few hundred dollars spent now is better than some ugly surprises at tax time or if you are forced into litigation.


      Steve Browne, online business strategies, tips, guidance, and resources

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      • Profile picture of the author igorGriffiths
        Hello Jason, unfortunately this is exactly the issue I am coming up against, you cannot easily rent a virtual office without proof of residence.

        Steve, I am going to consult my company accountant before getting them to shut the business. Things are particularly weird because I am no longer a UK resident but have my banking in the UK, but pay Saudi income tax at 0%.
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  • Profile picture of the author Max Anderson
    You don't need one... BUT I would highly recommend it to protect your personal assets especially from legal claims!

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    • Profile picture of the author tenbears
      As above really. As a person, you are a legal entity and can trade as such as a sole trader and can operate a business PayPal account as such.

      It sounds like your main problem is residency for tax purposes and I imagine that you will need to establish this as a person before you can subsequently establish yourself as the MD of an LLC. Chicken and egg?

      Bottom line should be to get yourself a reputable finacial advisor who can examine your particular circumstances and propose the best solution for you. Good luck mate.
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